JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Update from the Thompsons: The legal limbo drags on

The Thompsons have no income, but fight on with borrowed help.

Matt and Janet Thompson moved to Australia, got all the approvals to set up a cattle feedlot, invested their life savings, then the rules began to change. They didn’t need a license at all when they started. Then a paddock was called a watercourse, and apparently they needed one. They were turning away customers in 2007, but then Matt spoke as a skeptic and things began to degenerate. In March 2008 their cattle license was cut in half. The West Australian Dept of Environment solicited complaints, and green groups, funded with lottery commission assistance, advised locals on how to target businesses and cut their cash flows to destroy them.

The license conditions suddenly increased, Matt and Janet responded to every request, but no matter how many letters of support, petitions, surveys, studies or odour assessments they got, it was never enough. All the way along DEC kept promising verbally that uncertainties would be resolved soon, but each time the written information arrived, the uncertainties grew and the news got worse and worse. DEC has issued an unbankable license, whereupon DEC can declare they have given the Thompsons what they asked for, but it’s meaningless, because no bank would recognize it as economically viable.

DEC admits it did not treat them fairly, nor follow it’s normal procedures.

It is a case study in modern tyranny run amok.

DEC effectively runs the state of Western Australia. It has veto rights on all the businesses. That’s bearable if you are a large multinational corporation with big advertising budgets in The West Australian, and a team of QC’s, but for small businesses who will stand up for you? Not the ABC, not The West Australian, not the Ombudsman.

– Jo

Janet Thompson writes an update on  AGmates

Abbey waves

Matt and I feel like we need to keep everyone updated on what is going on. You have all been so generous and caring…we can never thank you enough. But sharing information with you is the least we can do. I apologise that I’ve not done that well.

I decided that this was the best place to post our updates, but if you have another suggestion, please just let me know.

We are still onsite, still living behind locked gates, “playing” the legal game. We’re living minute by minute, with no certainty of our future. I’m working part-time to keep the lights on and food on the table while Matt keeps the place up and deals with creditors and legal issues. We share house/kid/food duties.

Having said that, we need to give the appearance of normalcy for the kids’ sake, and we put up our Christmas tree on Sunday. The kids were so excited! It was uplifting for me to just swim in their enthusiasm.

The Thompson kids still celebrate Christmas

Here is a timeline to bring everyone fully up-to-date.

  • Friday, 17 September 2010: National Australia Bank (NAB) served papers demanding full payment within 4 days
  • Tuesday, 21 September: NAB appointed Ferrier Hodgson (FH) as receivers and managers (R&M) of Narrogin Beef Producers
  • Monday, 27 September: A public holiday in WA, R&M came onsite to inform Matt that they would come the next morning to take equipment.
  • Tuesday, 28 September: Upon last-minute advice, Matt locked the gates and had a stand-off with the R&M
  • Tuesday, 5 October: Matt and I gave notice to NAB and R&M that we were going to file in the Federal Court of Australia (FCA) a case against DEC, and that we were also asking for the appointment of FH to be declared invalid based on conflict of interest.
  • Wednesday, 20 October: With the pro-bono help of Peter Spencer, Peter King and James Bell (many thanks, gentlemen), we filed the FCA application in Sydney.
  • On the same day, we were served notice that Lavan Legal, acting for FH, had taken pre-emptive action in the WA Supreme Court (WASC) on 14 October, asking for their appointment to be declared valid. This was under section 418A of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cwth), and so it’s referred to as the 418A matter.
  • Tuesday, October 26: First hearing of 418A matter. We represented ourselves, asking for the matter to be deferred, as we intended to file a cross-vesting application to transfer the WASC matter into Federal Court, where we had already filed on the same issue. Master Sanderson agreed to adjourn for one week.
  • Friday, October 29: Cross-Vesting application filed in WASC.
  • Tuesday, November 2: Master Sanderson adjourned the 418A application due to the fact that the cross-vesting application had been filed.
  • Tuesday, 9 November: Peter King flew in to argue the Cross-Vesting application in front of Judge Le Miere J. The following day, the judge ruled against us. He agreed to hear the 418A matter on 25 November.
  • Tuesday, 23 November: Joshua Forrester of RangerLegal, came to our home and got up to speed on our case, agreeing to defend us at Thursday’s 418A hearing.
  • Thursday, 25 November: Hearing went from 10:30 to 5:00. Judge LeMiere has, as of today, 1 December, still not handed down a verdict.

Mr. Paul Byrnes, the DEC employee who had a significant role in our dealings with DEC, attended every one of the 4 hearings, even though all 4 of those hearings were about the appointment of R&M, and had nothing to do with DEC. We have named Paul Byrnes in our Federal Court application.

We are very concerned about shenanigans between the parties on the other side of the table from us. It has become quite clear that FH are not working to maximise value for Narrogin Beef Producers. This means that our unsecured creditors…the many good people who trusted us enough to do business with us….will be left completely out in the cold.

Matt and I feel morally obligated to fight as long as possible to try to get these people paid back, and we are proud of our actions. We have copped some criticism for choosing this course. Of course, life would be easier if we just walked away from the whole mess, got jobs and a nice little rental house somewhere, and just concentrated on ourselves and our four kids. But that would only be a short-term solution. What happens when our kids want to produce? Will they be allowed to?

It matters what we choose today. We know our path will not be perfect, but we will continue to make the best decisions today with the information available to us today. And so long as we are able to look ourselves in the mirror and continue to be open and honest in all of our dealings, we will be okay.

The many people — local, state, national and international — who continue to support and encourage us, are our sustenance. How can we ever thank you enough? I suppose not giving up is the closest we can get.

But thank you, nonetheless.

Janet

The central point for information on The Thompsons.

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29 comments to Update from the Thompsons: The legal limbo drags on

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    Adolf Balik

    The complete Green movement is nothing but effort for re-feudalization. They seek soil-keepers to be converted to subjects, vassals, the only tenure allotment keepers on mercy of his lordships. The story of the unhappy family is a great illustration that the Green effort works.

    They don’t try to feudalize the only soil. Old civilizations had one production factor even more crucial then soil for their economic system – inundation water. Elites of inundation civilization who controlled the water rationing ruled the societies in even more despotic ways then common feudal lords. The same factor crucial production factor as used to be inundation water in the despotic ancient civilization is energy and its carrier carbon for the industrial civilization. Then the new Green feudal despotism of industrial age should be enthroned with carbon feudalization.


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    Jaymez

    Well done to Peter King and Joshua Forrester for taking up the cause. If they are not careful they will give lawyers a good name!

    Who is the new minister responsible for DEC? Perhaps it’ll be someone who can actually focus on their job rather than allow the department to go feral.

    Janet and Matt are great examples to us all not just for standing up to the bureaucrats, but even more importantly, keeping the family life together for their children and being such good examples to them. I have no doubt the children will be positively influenced by their example no matter the outcome.


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    John from CA

    Hi Janet,
    I posted late on the last thread so you probably missed it.

    Its that time of year, I’d like to know about local “Shire” shops that deliver directly to your door and if there’s anything on the “naughty or nice” list for Kate, Abbey, Will, and Luke I can send.

    Here in the US, UPS and FedEx are a no-brainer but out in WA you may be getting deliveries from a sleigh pulled by Grey Kangaroo ;) — I need some help with the best approach so its delivered to you directly (need a shipping address) and some suggestions.

    Best to You and Yours,
    John from CA


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  • #
    Ian Hill

    My email to all WA State politicians a month ago resulted in a grand total of one reply, straight away from Michael Mischin who basically told me I didn’t know what I was talking about, but in polite politician-speak.

    This is part of my reply to him:

    I am satisfied that I know the history of the Thompson’s case as well as I need to. I don’t see any point in writing to the DEC. I used to work in a government department. I have seen what they can do to ruin people’s lives. The Thompsons have clearly been victimised for expressing a skeptical point of view about climate change. Recently over 700 people worldwide rallied to help them with donations in less than a week when it looked like their eviction was imminent. That sort of response usually only happens when there is a natural disaster. The whole world is watching this case.

    I have informed myself extensively on the science of the factors claimed to be responsible for man-made global warming and also the background to the causes of the absolute hysteria about it which has been purposesly generated by climate scientists and environmentalists over the past two decades. Given the shocking environmental-related revelations about the Victorian bushfires early last year I have no longer have confidence in “green” agencies anywhere. I do have confidence that my children and their children (if that happens) will enjoy the same climate (and small swings in climate) as their ancestors.

    At least Mr Mischin was decent enough to reply and I respect him for that.


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  • #

    John from CA! Hello you good Santa Samaritan, Janet most certainly did notice your generous suggestion! She immediately emailed me emphatically asking for your email address and then we both wrote to you. Janet was moved by your thoughtfulness, amazed that someone so far removed would be so kind. She was touched, you got to her!

    Is there a better email address for us to use to write to you? (joanne At the site domain name.)

    Jo


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  • #
    John Campbell

    From freezing UK – Keep your chins up – non illigitimes carborundum – there are many many people on your side. Is there anything we can do? Just say and it’ll be done.


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    John from CA

    Sorry Joanne,
    I should have checked my Email – doing it now.

    Best,
    John


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  • #
    Roy Hogue

    Matt, Janet and family,

    Merry Christmas and a happier new year that brings you the relief you need.

    No matter how much flak you get for sticking with your principles, keep sticking to them. Your principles matter. I’ve no way of knowing how many there are but there must be many like me who wish they had a way to get you through this mess and restore what’s been taken from you.

    I don’t think for even a second that you would go through this just for the sake of the example you set for your children. But it is a very good example for them about things that really matter in life.


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  • #

    BTW OT I know – but it looks like due to Japan saying no to Kyoto at Cancun won’t get extended – see my link.


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  • #
    Jim Barker

    I wouldn’t mind chipping in for the children’s Christmas either. Let me know how I could help.

    Regards,

    Jim


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  • #
    FijiDave

    G’day Matt, Janet and Family & to you too, Jo

    Was just wondering yesterday how things were going with you. Thanks for the update.

    Here’s hoping for some good news before Christmas.

    Cheers from Fiji


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  • #
    Bulldust

    Jaymez:

    John Day is in charge of Environment for now, but we suspect there may be a shuffle (presumably to bring Buswell back in) some time this month, or later during the Parliamentary break.


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    Bulldust

    Expanding on the above:

    http://www.premier.wa.gov.au/Ministers/John-Day/Pages/Contact-The-Minister.aspx

    Thanks for the update Janet… I was just thinking about you guys this week as well. It had been too quiet and I was beginning to fear that you had all been turfed out of your property by the authorities. I guess they don’t dare doing that just before Christmas.

    More to the point, what’s with the deafening silence from the media? All the representatives that were their in front of Parliament House have nothing to say? I am yet to see anything reported in the MSM. “Narrogin Beef Producers” yields zero results on Google-News searches ATM. The only articles in 2010 were two write ups in Farm Weekly in February and April.

    It seems that unless you pull a crazy stunt (like the poor chap that threatened to drill his own head on ACA) you don’t get any attention. I certainly hope you guys don’t have to get creative with power tools to get noticed.

    It’s become a standard line for me at home when we watch the news and some trivial story is broadcast, and I am sure the missus is tired of hearing me say:

    “What a rubbish story … what about the family of six losing their farm and being turfed off their property?”


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  • #
    Madame La Guillotine

    Hi Jo, Thompson family & readers. Could I suggest more regular, direct posts on Andrew Bolt’s blog ?
    He reaches a massive, growing audience of people who may be able to assist in varios ways.
    Best wishesand season’s greetings to you all !

    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/


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  • #
    Bulldust

    What I find interesting is that Paul Byrnes was clearly head of the Works Approvals and Emissions Licensing Section of the Licencing Branch in DEC’s Environmental Regulation Division prior to 2010, but that position is now filled by Peter Vasel. You can find that by looking at the organisational chart here (last page of the pdf):

    http://www.dec.wa.gov.au/content/view/3431/1702/

    It is not clear where Mr Byrnes has gone from that position. He seems to have disappeared off the radar.


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  • #
    J.Hansford

    It’s bluddy appalling what has happened to the Thompsons… UnAustralian as far as I am concerned, and I use the Thompsons’ plight to describe everything which is now wrong with this country whenever I get the opportunity during conversations.

    Anyway… May this Christmas be the beginning of a better year for them. May the new year bring them peace and prosperity.


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    Dave Trimble

    Jo,

    I’m surely not alone in wanting to get more frequent updates on the Thompson’s plight. They have a world-wide following that requires regular feeding and nurturing. I am sure that there are enough of us to back a good lawsuit or out and out rebellion against the morons who instigated these unjust actions. We’ll back a righteous and just fight. All they have to do is keep us in the loop.

    What other family farms/ranches have been or are being done in by this bunch of parasites? Maybe we could hear from them or about them. I’m sure the outrage would amplify if we could get an idea of how destructive the DEC and their ilk really are.

    Dave Trimble
    Sacramento, Californicate
    USSA


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  • #

    Thanks to everyone. We’re beginning to take more flak from the dark greens, and it’s important to have your encouragement.

    As you can see from the photo, we’re okay…we’re together…we’re alive…and we choose to be happy (most of the time!). Because we’ve been productive contributors to society, it’s hard to take help. But we’re endeavouring to be gracious in accepting your help, because we know it’s important for all of us. The mere fact that you guys are THINKING of us and bugging your spouses (apologies to Bulldust’s wife!) by talking about our situation is hugely uplifting. Thanks.

    Our electricity is on (although phone is iffy — direct debit for phone was rejected because my pay had not hit my account yet!) and we are planning to have Christmas here. We’ve never tried to hide who we are; I think all of our enemies would already have all of our details anyway. We’re at PO Box 1148 or 136 Wanerie Road, Narrogin Western Australia 6312. I think if you send to the physical address, the local delivery company charges for warehousing. So if at all possible, please send to the PO Box, if you choose to send something. Please, please do not feel obligated. We’re okay. It’s good just “knowing” you.

    Have a great Christmas, everyone. Enjoy the Cancun Crash. (Japan has certainly helped make this holiday season a bit happier, hey?!)

    Warmest Regards,
    Janet

    P.S. as for the MSM’s deafening silence, it’s very interesting, isn’t it? Not only as it relates to our own situation, but as we’ve all been acutely aware, to the Climategate, Glaciergate and the revelation that Cancun really is about wealth re-distribution and not the environment, to name but a few. I told Matt this morning…I just consider good sites like Jo’s and WUWT and others on the Internet to be my media now. I usually do not put myself through the absolute hell of traditional outlets anymore.


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  • #
    Myrrh

    Web search “blank of ireland this way out”

    Step by step instructions of how to cancel the debt. They must first prove you owe them the money… They cannot do this because it is an admission of the fraud perpertrated on you.

    Remember, they didn’t have any money to loan you, they created money out of your loan agreement to be indebted many times the value of your “debt”, there is no debt. So much money was created out of your agreement to be indebted that there is no loser, except for you if you continue to play their game.


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    John from CA

    Happy Days and Seasons Greetings,
    I finally found a major retail outlet in WA that supports PO Box delivery for Gift Cards.

    Sorry to say it but if you own Coles stock, you Need to sell it immediately. The “chain”is confused and the customer service department is non-existent. I emailed for 2 days and finally called the store only to get a transferred call and a “well, we don’t know”. Coles wouldn’t survive as a retailer in the US for more than a day.

    Woolworths Gift Cards
    http://everydaygiftcards.com.au/

    Note: it requires a 7 day delivery for a PO Box so if you’d like to send the Thompson Family a Seasons Greeting, time is a factor.

    Seasons Greetings to All,
    John from CA


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    Jim Barker

    Well, I sent Janet a gift card, hope it actually gets there.
    Merry Christmas to the Thompson family.
    Happy Holidays to all of you.

    Jim


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  • #

    Thanks again, Everyone.

    Merry Christmas to each and every one of you. We are very rich.

    Cheers,
    Janet


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  • #
    Bernd Felsche

    This should make Christmas all the merrier:

    Turn out the lights, the party’s over

    Scams die hard, but eventually they die, and when they do, nobody wants to get close to the corpse. You can get all the hotel rooms you want this week in Cancun.

    The global-warming caravan has moved on, bound for a destination in oblivion. The United Nations is hanging the usual lamb chop in the window this week in Mexico for the U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, but the Washington guests are staying home. Nobody wants to get the smell of the corpse on their clothes.

    Follow the link to the Washington Times for the complete article.

    Meanwhile, MSM, especially ABC and SBS in Australia are struggling to maintain the fiction. There are, what seem to be obligatory “news” items in the main bulletins. Perhaps ABC News is aiming to balance fact (reports from the freezing northern hemisphere) with fiction; although I’m not sure that their CEO meant that sort of balance in news when he urged it.


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  • #
    Stu West

    As a Western Australian from a W.A. family (four generations) and noting that the Thompson family are in Narrogin, W.A., I just want to echo J. Hansford’s sentiments posted above: I feel a deep and abiding sense of shame when reading the descriptions of the treatment allegedly handed out to this family by some State officials. I would have thought the current flavour of State government would have given more succour to deserving young rural folks like this who merely put their best foot forward from the start. The description of what read like a protracted and vindictive response from the ‘non-productive’ parties due to the family merely expressing a dissenting view on the climate orthodoxy was to me possibly the most disturbing aspect of their story, after their impending utter financial ruin, of course. I ask myself (or perhaps we should be asking our Premier): does the fair State of W.A. deserve people of the Thompsons’ calibre, if she treats them so?


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  • #
    Paul

    I think that there are solid grounds for someone using the ‘Freedom of Information Act’ to get some background, inside information on this sad case. Bringing some of the arbitrary decisions, made behind closed doors, into the light of day may have more effect than the legal challenges, which can be very costly and drawn out and may not be widely reported, either.

    I was reading about Heather Brooke, the Investigative Journalist behind the ‘MPs Expenses’ scandal. Maybe her success is a clue to the way forward.

    Even the fact of there being ‘Freedom Of Information’ requests would serve to give this case more prominence in the media – they, and the public, are more able to understand normal ‘conflict of interest’ matters than they do ‘science’ – which is why Climategate has had such an impact on the press and public opinion. When people are caught lying most people understand that they have a wrong motive and something to hide.

    Here in New Zealand, there are ‘Questions in Parliament’. That can be an effective tool to highlight issues, too, if one is able to find a back-bencher willing to ask them. One unsatisfactory answer can be followed up with further questions until the cover-up becomes impossible.

    I hope the Thompson family have a happy and blessed Christmas and some justice for their case in the new year

    Paul


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  • #

    Jim Barker and John from CA, cards have arrived. Thank you very much.

    One positive about our situation is that we have the freedom to speak out without fear of reprisal. I don’t think people truly understand the power that is vested into Government Departments. I’m representing 16 local governments on a regional land use planning strategy group, and if our business were still operating, I would have been scared to speak out strongly and honestly in that room full of bureaucrats making decisions about how private property will be used in future. (Of course, my loan voice in that room was totally ignored anyway.)

    Climate change is but one head of the hydra whose heart is focussed on centralised control of, well, everything.

    Cheers,
    Janet


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    John from CA

    Merry Christmas Janet


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  • #

    Can we still donate through Paypal or some way? Too late to send presents, but I’m all up for helping keep the lights on, food on the table, or assist. If not I’ll send a Happy New Years present of some sort.


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